Tag Archives: care

Private-sector Socialism

Cross-posted from State House Call.

By John Goodman

Here we are at the eleventh hour, about to enact Obama/Baucus/Kennedy/Waxman Care and no one other than the insurance industry executives seems to be aware of how genuinely foolish this reform is likely to be.

At the top of my list of foolish things is the idea that no one should ever have to pay the real cost of his own health insurance. The most popular alternative is having everyone pay the same premium although, as previously reported at this site, community-rated premiums are not even good for sick people.

We do not as a rule find this attitude in the market for other important goods. For example, most of us think people should pay the market price for the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the house they live in. We also don’t seem to have a problem with people paying market prices for life insurance or disability insurance.

So what’s so different about health care? There is always the possibility that someone cannot afford to pay an actuarially fair premium. But there are also people who cannot afford to pay for food, clothing and shelter. We solve these problems through public and private programs to help people out. No one is seriously proposing to socialize the food, clothing and housing industries. And if people can’t afford — or otherwise neglect — to buy life or disability insurance, we have programs to deal with the sympathetic cases there as well.

Continued here.

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Mugged by Reality, Health Care Edition

Cross-posted from State House Call.

By King Banaian

Growing up is hard to do, but Wendy Button does it well:

In the past, I paid attention to the health care debate as a speechwriter who prepared speeches, talking points, op-eds, and debate prep material on the topic at different times for John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others. Now, I’m paying attention because I’m a citizen up the creek without a paddle.

Throughout my life, I have been very lucky because my insurance has always been there whenever I had a crisis. When my 10-speed hit a patch of leftover winter sand, and I went flying into a telephone pole, it covered the x-rays and stitches and concussion diagnosis. When a half a ton of sheet rock fell on me, my insurance paid for the cast on my foot. When my depression kicked in and I was hospitalized and painting ceramic pieces in art therapy to boost my self-esteem (sheesh), it made sure that when I got home my medical bills didn’t make me reach for a razor. And when there were growths in my uterus, it covered that medical procedure and every regular check-up, lab test, broken bone, sports injury, and antibiotic prescription in between.

Since I care more about my country than my personal pride, here’s how I lost my insurance: I moved. That’s right, I moved from Washington, D.C., back to Massachusetts, a state with universal health care.

In D.C., I had a policy with a national company, an HMO, and surprisingly I was very happy with it. I had a fantastic primary care doctor at Georgetown University Hospital. As a self-employed writer, my premium was $225 a month, plus $10 for a dental discount.

In Massachusetts, the cost for a similar plan is around $550, give or take a few dollars. My risk factors haven’t changed. I didn’t stop writing and become a stunt double. I don’t smoke. I drink a little and every once in a while a little more than I should. I have a Newfoundland dog. I am only 41. There has been no change in the way I live my life except my zip code — to a state with universal health care.

Massachusetts has enacted many of the necessary reforms being talked about in Washington. There is a mandate for all residents to get insurance, a law to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition, an automatic enrollment requirement, and insurance companies are no longer allowed to cap coverage or drop people when they get sick because they forgot to include a sprained ankle back in 1989 on their application.

…What makes this a double blow is that my experience contradicts so much of what I wrote for political leaders over the last decade. That’s a terrible feeling, too. I typed line after line that said everything Massachusetts did would make health insurance more affordable. If I had a dollar for every time I typed, “universal coverage will lower premiums,” I could pay for my own health care at Massachusetts’s rates.

My hat’s off to you, young lady. I hope you have a good employer, because you just painted a target on yourself.

(First posted at SCSU Scholars)